With the subject of Carcasses, Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps was following an old artistic tradition. He was inspired by Rembrandt's (1606-1669) Slaughtered Ox (see photo) which he would have seen at the Louvre Museum. Decamps greatly admired the Dutch master and owned several paintings by him. In spite of the inspiration from Rembrandt, Decamps's watercolor of about 200 years later conveys a different mood. Instead of focusing on a single butchered corpse as Rembrandt had, Decamps viewed his bodies and slabs of meat from further back, and he included domestic objects and a background figure standing at a table. Decamps's resulting image stands less as a symbol of death and more as a matter-of-fact representation of daily life.

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  • Title: Carcasses
  • Creator: Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps (French, 1803-1860)
  • Date Created: 1840-1860
  • Physical Dimensions: Sheet: 24.6 x 17.9 cm (9 11/16 x 7 1/16 in.)
  • Provenance: [Colnaghi, London, 1975]. [Shepherd Gallery, New York, 1976-77]; purchased in 1977.
  • Type: Drawing
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/2008.344
  • Medium: watercolor and gouache
  • Inscriptions: signed, lower right, in black gouache: Decamps; verso, upper right, in graphite: 73; upper center, in graphite: [illegible] [Bruget?] / a [Degert?] [all partially erased]; upper center, in graphite: (Decamps [written over previous inscription]; center, in graphite: 19 [circled]; lower right, in graphite: 19 x 12 2; lower left, in graphite: 82; lower right, in graphite: d559cfe 2 s
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: France, 19th century
  • Credit Line: Bequest of Muriel Butkin
  • Collection: DR - French
  • Accession Number: 2008.344

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